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Modern In The Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-1975

Filmed on location, authors Susan Benjamin and Michelangelo Sabatino discuss, Modern In The Middle, the first book of the classic 20th century houses that defined American Midwestern Modernism. $15 (60 min)
Streaming until March 31, 2021.
Category: AIA Continuing Education, Presentation, Talk, Tour (Exterior), Tour (Interior)


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Famed as the birthplace of that icon of twentieth-century architecture, the skyscraper, Chicago also cultivated a more humble but no less consequential form of modernism–the private residence.   

Authors Susan S. Benjamin and Michelangelo Sabatino take us on onsite tours, visiting the exteriors of some of the homes featured in their new book, Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-1975, including a conversation inside the iconic Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe. 

Their book explores the substantial yet overlooked role that Chicago and its suburbs played in the development of the modern single-family house in the twentieth century. In a city often associated with the outsize reputations of Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the examples discussed in this generously illustrated book expand and enrich the story of the region’s built environment.   

Also revealed, how residential clients–typically middle-class professionals, progressive in their thinking–helped to trailblaze modern architecture in America. Though reflecting different approaches to site, space, structure, and materials, the examples in Modern in the Middle reveal an abundance of astonishing houses that have never been collected into one study–until now. 

Signed copies of Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-1975 may be ordered from The Farnsworth House gift shop.


This program qualifies for .5 AIA/CES Learning Units (LU).

The organizer of this program is Modernism Week. This program is streaming through March 31, 2021.

Photo Credits: Monacelli Press, Brunning House (1936) Chicago History Museum, Heinrich-Blessing Collection, Freeark House (1975) Photo Bob Thall

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